House Bill No. 77
Introduced By simpkins
A Bill for an Act entitled: An Act requiring recitation of the pledge of allegiance in public schools; providing that a student or teacher must be excused from participation if the student's or teacher's convictions preclude participation; requiring a school district to inform students and teachers of the right not to participate in pledge recitation; prohibiting a school district from using a student's or teacher's refusal to participate for evaluation purposes; clarifying that a teacher who exercises the right not to participate in the pledge recitation is still required to teach subjects related to the flag in a prescribed curriculum; and amending section
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court has consistently ruled that a state may require recitation of the pledge of allegiance so long as any student or teacher objecting to participation for any reason is allowed to nondisruptively refuse to participate; and
WHEREAS, courts have also ruled that a student who refuses to participate in the pledge of allegiance cannot be compelled to take any particular action, such as standing, remaining seated, or leaving the room during group recitation of the pledge; and
WHEREAS, in an effort to educate students in the American values of patriotism and love of country and to pass on the feelings of civic pride and commitment to America, the Board of Public Education, as one small step in increasing Montana students' awareness of their heritage as Americans, enacted a policy on January 26, 1989, recommending that teachers in every public school classroom begin the day with recitation of the pledge of allegiance while allowing an excuse from participation for any student or teacher who objects for any reason; and
WHEREAS, in 1980 the United States Supreme Court let stand the decision in Palmer v. Board of Education of City of Chicago, 603 F.2d 1271 (7th Cir. 1979), certiorari denied, 444 U.S. 1026 (1980), which held that while a teacher may not be required to participate in the pledge of allegiance, the teacher, despite any personal convictions, may be required to teach subjects related to the flag or other patriotic matters in the prescribed curriculum; and
WHEREAS, section 20-4-301, MCA, requires a teacher to provide moral and civic instruction by endeavoring to impress students with the principles of morality, truth, justice, and patriotism; to instruct students in the principles of free government; and to train them to comprehend the rights, responsibilities, and dignity of American citizenship.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Pledge of allegiance required -- exemption for students and teachers. (1) Except as provided in subsection (4), the pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America must be recited in all public schools of the state.
(2) The recitation required in subsection (1) must be conducted at the beginning of the first class:
(a) of each school day in kindergarten through grade 6; and
(b) of each school week in grades 7 through 12.
(3) The recitation must be conducted:
(a) by each individual classroom teacher or the teacher's surrogate; or
(b) over the school intercom system by a faculty member or person designated by the principal.
(4) A school district shall inform all students and teachers of their right to not participate in recitation of the pledge. Any student or teacher who, for any reason, objects to participating in the pledge exercise must be excused from participation. A student or teacher who declines to participate in the pledge may engage in any alternative form of conduct so long as that conduct does not materially or substantially disrupt the work or discipline of the school.
(5) If a student or teacher declines to participate in the recitation of the pledge pursuant to this section, a school district may not for evaluation purposes include any reference to the student's or teacher's not participating.
Section 2. Section 20-4-301, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-4-301. Duties of teacher -- nonpayment for failure to comply. (1)
Any A teacher under contract with a district
(a) conform to and enforce the laws, board of public education policies, and
the policies of the trustees of the district;
utilize use the course of instruction prescribed by the trustees;
(c) keep, in a neat and businesslike manner, a teacher's register in the form and on the blanks prescribed by the superintendent of public instruction;
(d) within 10 days after the conclusion of each school semester, prepare a report in the manner and on the forms prescribed
by the superintendent of public instruction, which must include the pupil attendance and absence data from
his the teacher's
register that is necessary to calculate ANB. The report must be submitted to:
(i) the district superintendent, if there is one;
(ii) the principal of the school, if there is one and there is no district superintendent; or
(iii) the county superintendent or all county superintendents when the teacher is reporting for a joint district, if there is no district superintendent or principal.
(e) exercise due diligence in the care of school grounds and buildings, furniture, equipment, books, and supplies; and
(f) provide moral and civic instruction by:
(i) endeavoring to impress the pupils with the principles of morality, truth, justice, and patriotism, including any curriculum related to the flag prescribed by the trustees;
(ii) teaching the pupils to avoid idleness, profanity, and falsehood;
(iii) instructing the pupils in the principles of free government and training them to comprehend the rights, responsibilities, and dignity of American citizenship.
(2) The trustees are authorized to withhold the salary warrant of any teacher who does not comply with the provisions of subsection (1)(a) or (1)(b) until the teacher does comply with the provisions.
(3) The trustees may not pay any
teacher his teacher's last month's salary until he has provided a complete and accurate
semester report has been provided to the required person, as determined by the person and as required in subsection (1)(d)
of this section."
Section 3. Codification instruction. [Section 1] is intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 20, chapter 7, part 1, and the provisions of Title 20, chapter 7, part 1, apply to [section 1].